ESPN Reels In BASS Buyer

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Continuing its retreat from the outdoor genre, ESPN has reached an agreement in principle to sell BASS, LLC to a group of investors led by Jerry McKinnis, Jim Copeland and Don Logan, the former chairman of the Media and Communications Group at then AOL Time Warner Inc.
BASS is the largest membership organization of bass anglers in the U.S. with more than 500,000 members. Purchased by ESPN in 2001, it includes several media platforms, including three magazines and a Web site. The purchasing party will assume ownership of all BASS' assets after the completion of the sale, terms of which were not disclosed.
As part of the agreement in principle, BASS's core TV assets -- the Bassmaster Elite Series and Bassmaster Classic -- will continue to air on ESPN networks.
Come 2011, those shows will represent the only category fare remaining on the sports giant's air, as it is replacing its hunting/fishing weekend morning block with live news and event programming like SportsCenter, College GameDay and Barclay Premier League soccer.
An avid angler, Logan had oversight for Time Warner Cable, Time Inc., America Online and Time Warner Book Group, as chairman of the AOL Time Warnre's Media and Communications Group.
Investor and outdoorsman McKinnis has a long history with ESPN as the host of the network's second longest-running show, The Fishin' Hole, which aired from 1980 until 2007.
A Georgia native, Copeland retired as U.S. and Global CEO of international financial services firm Deloitte in 2003 and currently serves on the board of directors of three Fortune 500 companies.
"This group is looking forward to working with the fishing industry's strongest brand and plans to make BASS even more relevant in the multimedia world," said Logan in a statement.
"The investor group, with its enthusiasm for the brand, will continue to serve BASS' interests with anglers," noted Traug Keller, ESPN senior vice president, production, business divisions.